Braces are great for treating many different oral health problems and improving the overall look of your smile. But if you’re someone who struggles with teeth grinding, are braces a suitable treatment for you?
Today, we’ll look at how teeth grinding develops and the unique circumstances where braces may be the best choice for preserving your smile and oral health. Of course, every situation is a bit different, so the first step you should take if you’re struggling with teeth grinding is to book an appointment for a comprehensive dental exam.
During the exam, we’ll look for issues contributing to symptoms and recommend a strategy for managing the problem as early as possible. Find out how our team at Symmetry Dental can help you, and book an appointment with us today.
Why Are You Grinding Your Teeth?
So, why do you grind your teeth?
Teeth grinding and clenching is a common oral health concern known as bruxism. Depending on your symptoms, it can lead to long-lasting jaw problems, damaged teeth, or even headaches. However, it’s essential to know that bruxism might not cause any symptoms initially, but issues can develop over time.
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms can vary from person to person, but some of the most common include:
- Aching teeth or jaws, notably in the morning.
- Pain or stiffness in your face and temple.
- Headaches or earaches.
- Fractured, flattened, chipped, or cracked teeth.
- Tooth sensitivity, especially when you consume hot or cold food and drink.
One of the more common reasons why you might develop bruxism is because of stress and anxiety. However, bruxism can also develop if you have jaw alignment problems or misaligned, missing, or broken teeth.
How Braces Can Help
Now that we know what bruxism is and how it can affect your oral health, let’s look at how braces can help address certain issues contributing to your bruxism symptoms.
One of these issues is malocclusion.
Malocclusion is a problem with your bite. It can occur for several reasons, but it can have a lasting impact on your oral health. There are a few different types of malocclusion you can develop, like:
- Overbites: when your upper jaw juts out further than your lower jaw, covering a portion of your lower teeth. Overbites may also be known as deep bites.
- Underbites: when your lower jaw juts out further than your upper jaw.
- Crossbites: when your upper and lower jaw doesn’t align appropriately for your teeth.
- Open Bites: when you can close your back teeth together, but there’s a space at the front of your bite.
Dentists can detect malocclusion during a routine dental exam. Most malocclusion cases are hereditary, but some can occur because of injury, overcrowding adult teeth, or even thumbsucking when you’re an infant.
Regardless of what type of malocclusion you might be experiencing, braces can help treat these issues by realigning your teeth and jaw.
Braces are a common orthodontic treatment that gently shifts your teeth in place using a combination of brackets, wires, and elastics. It’s common for teenagers to start wearing braces once all of their adult teeth come in, but adults can also benefit from braces if they’re looking to address specific oral health problems or simply improve the overall look of their smile.
While wearing your braces, your orthodontist will periodically place a new wire on your brackets to start aligning your teeth into a straighter position. It may take a couple of years to complete, but taking care of your braces and keeping up with your regular check-up appointments are great ways to help support your treatment.
What About Invisalign?
Invisalign is an alternative orthodontic treatment also designed to help straighten teeth. However, instead of braces, you wear a series of plastic aligners that pressure your teeth to help set them in place. Invisalign typically takes longer to complete than braces, but it can help achieve similar results.
But is it appropriate for treating bruxism? It depends. Although Invisalign is a great alternative to braces, it may not be effective for treating severe misalignments and malocclusion. In severe cases, your orthodontist might recommend:
- Oral surgery
- Removable appliance
Other Ways to Manage Teeth Grinding
Of course, braces aren’t the only treatment for bruxism. Depending on what’s causing your problems, we could recommend various other strategies to help manage potential symptoms.
Some of these could include:
Nightguards are common for protecting your teeth from grinding while you sleep. There are numerous boil-and-bite guards at your local pharmacy, but we recommend speaking to our team before using any over-the-counter products.
Stress is one of the main contributing factors to bruxism, so we may recommend practicing some stress management exercises to help control your symptoms.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends:
- Staying active
- Deep breathing exercises
Simple behaviour changes like eating a healthy balanced diet and limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol consumed can also help manage bruxism symptoms.
Book an Appointment Today
If you’re currently struggling with facial, tooth, or jaw pain, we recommend booking an appointment with your dentist. We can help determine what may be causing your discomfort during a comprehensive dental exam and possibly provide strategies to help manage your symptoms.Learn more about your oral health and book your appointment today at Symmetry Dental.